Afloat, in appearance they were not inaptly likened to a cheese-box on a plank.
The hull itself, even if freed from the overhang, could not as a model have any pretension to speed.
The dimensions of the Passaic
, the first vessel built of the improved class, were as follows: Apparent length of vessel, 200 feet; beam, 45 feet. This was sustained by an iron hull with nearly a flat floor, 16 feet shorter at the bow, and 25 feet shorter at the stern than the deck measurement, and on a cross section at the turret, 37 feet 8 inches wide.
The usual draught was something over 11 feet, and displacement 844 tons.
The thickness of the mass of wood firmly bolted together that surrounded the hull proper was 5 feet and was plated externally with five 1-inch iron plates.
The turret had a thickness of eleven 1-inch plates, with a height of 9 feet, and an interior diameter of 20 feet. It was designed to revolve at will by suitable machinery; had iron beams on top to support a light iron cover, and was surmounted by a small cylindrical tower (pilot-house) composed of eight 1-inch plates, some 7 feet in height and 8 feet in diameter.
Within this pilot-house was the wheel, and in battle, the commanding officer
, the pilot, and the helmsman.
It was capped by a circular plate of iron 1 1/2 inch thick.
Small circular holes were originally cut through for vision, and afterward, as a necessity, they were chiselled out to give an angle to the view.
The plates of the turret and of the pilot-house were held together by numerous bolts, with the heads on the outside and a nut within.
The blow of a very heavy projectile would make the nuts fly with great force within the turret, and the rebound of the plates would then at times withdraw the bolts entirely, but more frequently they would stand out like the ‘quills upon the fretful porcupine.’
The hatchway over the windlass-room, another forward of